Oh well. Here we are in UK hanging around with a hung parliament, as predicted by the pollsters. This election has been very interesting. With the American style televised debates, it was much more clearer as where each party stood. Also, when so many politicians (not the main guys) taking to social media forums like Twitter, there were umpteen avenues to get the news and gossips every minute.
As it was clear for several weeks now that this election will be a closely fought one, a casual read of the headlines in all the major newspapers for a few days clearly told where their loyalty lie. The way David Dimbleby handled the leaders’s debate and the marathon election night programme was awesome. The next best was Channel 4. Less said the better about Sky News.
This is the third general election in UK in which I have voted. The first two have been eventless and uninteresting. This one apparently wasn’t. The kind of mis-handling that we saw on the election day (not enough ballot papers, people who queued up before the closing time not being able to vote etc) is not only unfortunate, but presented the country in very poor light. As the entire media is busy with the post-election coalition talks, it is not clear if anyo of the voters who could not vote took the matter to the courts. With parties doing whatever they can to get past the magical 326, the effect of any legal action will add a new dimension to the drama that is unfolding in front of us every day.
With the kind of hype that was made over Nick Clegg’s performance in the first debate, I was surprised by the results. As for Labour, it had been a very rough ride for them for the last 2+ years. Given that scenario, whatever they have achieved is quite remarkable. Gordon Brown might not be a charismatic leader, but as a party Labour still has its base. On the same token, having such an unpopular government at the helm, it should have been a cake walk of an election for the main opposition party. Despite this, if Tories could not gain majority on their own, there is something seriously wrong with the party or with David Cameron.
For the last 5 days (it is Tuesday noon now), Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have been holding several rounds of negotiations and face-to-face meetings between the leaders that hasn’t yielded any result. For those who only get the one-liners like ‘We are making progress’ etc, it is really boring. It is a well known fact that Lib Dems are demanding ‘proportional representation’ in the electoral system, which Tories are totally against. Either Lib Dems must accept the fact that with 56 MPs, they are not going to get what they want or Tories must realise that without LD, they are not going to go where they want. All eyes are on them to see who blinks first. There was a gossip that Tories have earmarked Home and Education to Lib Dems in the event of Lib-Con coalition government. Though it is very unlikely to happen, I wish that they hand over Treasury to Lib Dems as well. Vince Cable will on any day be a better Chancellor than the inexperienced George Osbourne. In ethical terms, Tories as the party with most number of votes and seats should assume power. Lib-Con coalition will be the better way forward, but I strongly feel that Osbourne will be the weakest link in such a set up.
Although Lib Dems are holding parallel negotiations with Labour, I feel that it is more of a pressure tactic to get more out of Tories rather than anything else. If the Lib-Lab coalition materialises, they will still fall short of majority and will have to rely on the smaller parties leading to a very unstable government. Such an arrangement will definitely lead to another election within a year and in that eventuality, neither Labour nor Lib Dems will be in a position to face the voters.
It is reported that Cameron is not very happy with Clegg for having parallel discussions with Brown. If Cameron wants to bring around Clegg, he should have some secret discussions with Brown. Think about Lab-Con combination. Wouldn’t it add more spice to this drama?